Exploring Czechia with my American friend was great fun. I already shared a small preview of what happened in Karlovy Vary on our first day there in my Exploring Czechia with an American: Karlovy Vary Day one edition. As promised here is day two that was way more interesting.
I don’t remember ever having such a busy day.
We were staying at Hotel Marttel where we had a generous breakfast before we headed out for our day of fun. Our time schedule was so tight and we needed to check out in the early morning.
But that left us with our luggage and we sure as hell didn’t feel like carrying it with us the whole day. Luckily people at the hotel were incredibly kind and let us keep our bags in their storage until whenever we were ready to pick them up.
Our Karlovy Vary tour started at around 8 in the morning.
The weather really sucked that day. Small drizzle. Strong wind. Cold. My umbrella broke after a few minutes so I was walking around with a broken umbrella all wet anyway.
We did our research and had some points we wanted to visit for sure but other than that it was my favorite aimless walk and exploring whatever beauty you find on the way.
The morning walk thought mostly empty city was spectacular. The architecture there is just magical. Full of colors. Patterns. The fairytale-like colonies were everywhere and only added to the romantic spirit of the Karlovy Vary. Just check out the pictures I took:
The day before we found Elizabeth’s spas we wanted to visit so naturally our next steps led there.
I was so cold and super excited for a spa day. I was imagining all of the massages and procedures I’m gonna get once we get there.
We arrived like and half an hour after opening hours and we were way too late!
Most of the procedures were sold out except for the ones that were way too late for us. Bummer.
I guess you need to be there even before opening hours to grab the massages or other medical/beauty procedures. Gonna remember that for the next time and you should too.
I was not feeling like turning back without getting any ME time in the spas.
Elizabeth’s spas offer not only regular spas to the visitors but also a swimming pool with some jets, saunas, and jacuzzi. Not ideal but at least it was something. We bought ourselves a ticket for 2 hours for around 300Kc. Thankfully there were only very few, mostly old people so the jets were free for us to use. I didn’t do much swimming as those 2 hours were all about relaxing for me.
Sadly no photos from there but trust me, it was worth putting down my phone for at least 2 hours.
We tried to walk everywhere during that day no matter the terrible weather. God bless google maps cuz without them we would be so lost.
Our next stop was the Museum of Becherovka.
Becherovka is an original Czech alcohol drink that was born in Karlovy Vary over 200 years ago. You can imagine how popular it is here when it has a whole museum dedicated to it.
You can’t miss it cuz there is a big ass bottle of Becherovka right in front of the museum.
What sucked about the museum was the fact that they didn’t offer an English tour. The only languages available were Czech and Russian. Most of those tours were naturally sold out, because why not with our great luck that day.
The Becherovkas next available tour was in 2 hours and the other tour of the Glass museum we wanted to do after this one was further away. We didn’t even know if they would hold the tour at the time we needed it. That was a pickle for us.
With such a busy schedule we decided to risk it.
We got tickets for the Becherovka tour later and rushed to the other museum we wanted to visit – The glass museum.
This time only we used the bus because we were in a hurry and we really didn’t have time to explore the beauty of Karlovy Vary. We googled everything from where is the Glass museum, what bus to take, or what bus to get off.
It was quite difficult to find. You’ll have to go past some flats and a children’s playground and it looks nothing like you’re just heading to a museum. I was losing hope very quickly until I saw tall glass ball figures in the distance.
Way out of ordinary therefore that’s where I’m heading.
Suddenly we were in a super clean, luxury room where almost everything was made out of glass, hard shapes and you just knew the place was super expensive. And the people were just casually having coffee in there.
We stepped up to the big blackboard where the tours and the prices were listed. The lady at the cash register was super nice and explained that the tours are not strictly tied to a time and that it only depends on how many people are interested. We were in luck for the first time that day as the tour was starting in like 5 minutes and it was in English.
You have 3 options for tours.
- You can visit the museum only where all of the amazing glass products are displayed.
- Or you can go to the museum and to the Moser glasswork factory and see how are the glass products actually made.
- Or just the glasswork factory.
Of course, we got all in for around 180Kc each.
Our tour group considered of 6 people only and the tour guide. One older Czech couple, one middle-aged American couple, and me and my friend we represented the young couple and mix of both nationalities. The tour guide had a tough job of speaking both Czech and English so everyone would understand.
The whole tour was way more fascinating than I thought it would be.
We got to see how the glass is made from scratch and we witnessed the men handmaking them right in front of us. For our own safety, we needed to keep the distance from them but honestly, it was not that far. Just check out the pictures.
It was incredibly hot in the place and I was mesmerized.
What was the most ridiculous to me was how chill those guys were. There are random tourists watching them work with freaking hot glass but they were super relaxed.
There were guys wearing flip flops! Flip flops. You’re taking a glowing mass of glass out of a furnace that is literally over 1300 °C and you’re wearing flip flops. That’s just awesome. I wish I had balls like that.
There were guys that were smoking right there at the workplace. Again. You’re working with a hot mass of glass and you’re actually blowing into that hot mass and you have time to smoke a cigar while doing it. Incredible!
I don’t know if I’m allowed to share this information. I just hope I’m not gonna get them into trouble but the level of no fucks given while doing such incredibly beautiful works was incredible. That’s a goal.
Here is a short video I took of the glass manufacture in Karlovy Vary.
After like 15 minutes in there, we followed to the actual museum. It’s totally up to you how much time you want to spend there. We got the tape recorder that told us about the history and stuff but if I’m being honest I was not into it at all.
It was nice to look at the products and see the development but after few minutes I was done.
As we were in a hurry we headed out earlier but we just needed to visit the gift shop. We were so curious about the prices of such delicate hand made glass and yes it’s just as expensive as you would expect it to be.
I enjoyed the gift shop way more than the museum. It was more glamorous. Fancier. Scarier cuz I was so freaking worried we would accidentally break something and won’t be able to pay for it.
We quickly took the bus back to the alcohol museum and we were right on time!
That’s some good time management right there.
The Czech language tour of the Becherovka museum started with a short movie about the very interesting history of the brand. Luckily they had English subtitles so even my American friend could follow up without my constant translation.
After the movie we were in the most interactive museum, I have ever been to.
If you’re not familiar with Becherovka it’s basically a plant-based alcoholic drink that’s very similar to medicinal stomach drops. It’s very bitter and burns your throat but in a nice way.
The exact types or amounts of herbs in the Becherovka are unknown but we got to see and smell the potential ones in the herb room.
There were several parts of the museum. The first one was the historic, many documents, recipes or bottles from 200 years ago in comparison with today’s ones.
Then there was the herb room. Another one was the water room where you could taste the water used for making of Becherovka. Then an alcohol room with barrels of pure alcohol. Bottles room with virtual reality goggles that took you to an actual factory that’s near Karlovy Vary. The distribution room where we put a sticker to where we came from for a museum visit. Many more interactive rooms that were so well made.
The whole tour ended up with everyone’s favorite part.
Simple drinking at the bar, but this time Becherovka only.
Becherovka currently has 4 types of drinks and we got to taste them all with the basic description and introduction from the tour guide.
The whole mood of the tour was so light-headed and relaxed. I was enjoying it so much, mostly for the vibe of it.
We were so hungry by the time we left the alcohol museum so we just ate at the closest restaurant we could find.
It was still raining but that was not stopping us. What was stopping us from any more adventures was a train we needed to catch in order to continue with our exploration of the Czech republic.
We did manage to do some more walking around to get some souvenirs from Karlovy Vary, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget this trip.
As we left our bags at the hotel, we headed up the horrible hill to get them and then head back down by bus this time, as the rain was only increasing.
We were actually grateful for the long 3 hours train ride back to Prague. At least we could sleep it off on the train and wake up fresh for the night in Prague.
Karlovy Vary left an amazing impression on me. I was aware that the city was popular for its beauty but that is something everyone needs to witness first handed. It’s so hard to describe the general spirit of the place, but trust me it felt so good to just be there.